Archery Deer Hunt

white-tailed deerWed, Oct 16 - Tues, Dec 31, 2019

The Abbey land and trails remain open throughout the hunt.

Deer Hunt FAQ

Saint John's Abbey's intent is to reduce the deer population to a level that allows natural regeneration of the forest ecosystem that is essential to the long-term habitat of deer and other components of the ecosystem. Harvesting primarily antlerless deer is the best method for controlling the deer population.

Deer Hunt Updates

Sign up to receive email updates regarding the abbey deer hunt. Regular messages are sent to the list before, during, and after the hunt. You can also select to receive email updates for Outdoor U events and volunteer opportunities.

Important Links and Dates

2019 Abbey Arboretum Hunting Rules Deer Hunt Map

Applications and $5 application fee due by 4 p.m. Monday, August 5, 2019.

Online Application Mail-In Application (PDF)

$35 hunting fee due Sept 3, 2019 for all those selected to hunt.

  • Mandatory safety/orientation meeting Friday, Sept 27, 6:00 p.m. (includes supper)

Online Payment-Hunting Fee

(for those selected to hunt; purchase code required-check your notification letter)

Read the complete 2019 Hunting Rules or view a summary below.

Type of Hunt

Archery hunting will be the only option. Archery hunting allows Saint John's to extend the season, avoid conflicts with other campus events (hikers, football games, etc.), allows more hunters to participate, allows hunting closer to campus, and reduces the need for security personnel.

This is not a MN DNR special hunt; hunters must bring and use their own MN DNR archery license. All hunters must follow the Minnesota State Big Game Laws.

The Abbey Arboretum is within the boundaries of the Collegeville State Game Refuge (established in 1933) and special hunting rules can apply to hunting on the refuge. Due to refuge status, all wildlife species other than deer (including coyote) are protected and may not be taken.

As we are a college campus, hunters must be flexible in respecting campus events during the hunt. Any non-hunters who intentionally or otherwise needlessly disrupt hunting as determined by Saint John's will be asked to leave. The same is true for any hunters who disrupt campus events.

This is a walk-in hunt. Passenger vehicles may be used only on specified dates to carry stands/ground blinds closer to hunting districts and to retrieve harvested deer with Life Safety notification and approval. Parking will be allowed in several designated parking locations throughout the hunt (see map).

The hunt will be reassessed once 55 deer are taken. If Saint John's decides to end the hunt at that point, hunters who have not yet taken a deer will not be able to continue hunting at Saint John's this season.


  • All hunters must have a valid MN DNR archery license and must be able to take an antlerless deer in a zone covering Saint John's (218 south of I-94, 215 north of I-94).
  • Approx. 100 hunters will be allowed to hunt. A lottery will be used to select hunters who apply by 4 p.m. on Aug 5.
  • Only hunters with valid Saint John's Abbey hunting permits are allowed to hunt in the Abbey Arboretum. Permits are non-transferable.
  • Party hunting is allowed within the rules set by MN DNR for party hunting. Parties may consist of 2-4 people. Each party has only one chance of being drawn, regardless of how many archers there are in a party. All group members will be selected to hunt if the group is chosen and given consecutive lottery numbers.
  • Youth less than 18 years old may hunt if they have both a valid DNR license and a qualified adult supervisor. The adult supervisor must also possess a valid license or have completed a MN DNR education/safety course, but is not required to hunt, and must remain in very close proximity (<50 feet) of the youth at all times. Both the youth and the adult supervisor must complete their applications as a party. There must be one adult supervisor over 21 assigned to each youth under 18.
  • Bring only legal archery equipment. Crossbows are allowed with a valid MN DNR permit.

Hunting Schedule

  • Mandatory meeting: Friday, Sept 27, 6:00 p.m.
    (includes orientation, safety, and supper)
    A video of the safety training will be available for viewing no later than Oct 8 (for those absolutely unable to attend the meeting in person). Viewing of the video will be available from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. M-F, by appointment.
  • Hunting allowed: Wed, Oct 16 - Tues, Dec 31, 2019
  • Additional closures or advisories may occur within specific districts, depending on campus activities schedules.
  • Hunting times follow DNR regulations: 1/2-hr before sunrise and 1/2-hr after sunset.
  • Installation of portable stands/ground blinds (up to 2 per hunter) beginning after the mandatory orientation meeting for those who attend the meeting.

Priority Points for Lottery

About 100 hunters will be selected to archery hunt in 2019. Within groups of applicants with equal point scores, random selection will determine priority.

Points are awarded as follows:

  • 1 Point: Hunters having completed the MN DNR Bow Hunter Education course prior to application. The class is available online.
  • 1+ Points: Applicants will receive 1 point for each previous year they applied in which they were NOT SELECTED to hunt. This resets to 0 once a hunter is selected.
  • 1+ Points: Hunters will receive 1 point for each antlerless deer taken in the Abbey Arboretum the previous season (awarded to whoever tagged the deer).
  • 1 Point: Currently enrolled full-time students at the College of Saint Benedict or Saint John's University
  • Party Hunters: For the purpose of the lottery, the party will be assigned a score equal to the average number of points within the party(Example: A party of four hunters with individual scores of 3, 2, 1, and 0 will have an average score of 1.5 to be used in the lottery).

Bow Hunter Education

The MN DNR Bow Hunter Education course is available entirely online. There are two options available to hunters interested in obtaining this certificate:

  1. Individuals can complete the 10-hour in-classroom MN DNR bow hunter education course and pass the final exam. A $5 to $10 fee is collected by the instructor. Check for upcoming class listings.
  2. Individuals can complete the online course. Participants pay a $30 course fee when they pass the online exam with an unlimited number of tries to pass. Once completed, they print out their certificate of completion. Those who have completed the online course are then eligible to attend an optional 4-hour Bow Hunter Education Field Day (an additional $5-$10 fee). Check for upcoming class listings.

Youth ages 12 and older are eligible for bow hunter education certification. Youth ages 12-15 must first complete a Firearm Safety Training course before completing bow hunter education.

Choosing A Hunting District

Each hunter may have up to 2 stands or ground blinds. Review the Deer Hunt Map to see districts and number of hunters per district.

  • Hunters will select their top three choices for districts for 1 or 2 stands on the initial Hunting Application (see sidebar).
  • A limited number of hunters will be assigned to each district to avoid too many hunters in a district.
  • When party hunting, each member of the party will choose their own hunting district which may or may not be the same as others in the party.
  • Hunters may change districts during the season to any district that is not currently full.


Individual hunters may earn the right to take a buck in future years after they harvest 3 antlerless deer. Parties who successfully take 3 antlerless deer from Saint John's will earn the opportunity to take a buck in the current or future hunts. Saint John's will keep a record and the opportunity rolls forward. Review the Abbey Arboretum Hunting Rules for more details.

Support the Land

We thank hunters for your cooperation and interest in conservation to help assure us a healthy, balanced ecosystem. We have heard many positive comments from hunters about the hunt and the land. We also thank those of you who have become members of Saint John's Outdoor University, which provides environmental education and works with the Abbey to keep the Abbey Arboretum in good condition. All donations are tax-deductible.

Learn more about how you can support the land and Outdoor U programs.